Prince Eugene of Savoy: A Genius for War Against Louis XIV and the Ottoman Empire - James Falkner


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A review from NavyNet, posted by @rebbonk.


Often, going pot-luck with the books on offer reaps wonderful rewards and I’ve had some fantastic reads in the past. Unfortunately, this time it didn’t work out. Every time I picked up this book to read a few pages my heart sank. The text of the book ran to just shy of 200 pages, and I can tell you I loathed every last one of those pages.


I cannot fault the author’s knowledge, or what I learned from the book, and I did learn a lot. As I’ve said before, my knowledge of history is at best, scant; at worst, completely absent. However, the author’s style reminded me so much of my old history teacher way back in the 70s, presenting everything as fact and taking a dogmatic line. I’m sorry, that’s just not the right style for me.

As usual, from this publisher, the plates were arranged in groups. This really irritates me as it makes far more sense from a reader’s perspective to see the plates inserted into the relevant parts of the text. I know why this is done, it’s a trade-off to keep the price of the book down. But at a list price of £25, (currently discounted to £18.64), I don’t really think it has worked here. I must admit, that whilst the plates are good to look at, in most cases, I really don’t see the relevance of them or how they add any value to the text.

And that brings me onto the maps. There are 15 full page maps, but what many of them are trying to portray is rather difficult to discern. For example, map 2 is entitled Eugene’s Campaigns in North Italy, but just shows a topographic map of the region, with nothing specific about any particular battles or incidents. It really is (IMO) a waste of a page.

But, my real gripe about this book is the general layout. What really turned me off, what really made the book so depressing to read was the fact that the reader is faced with page after page of solid text with very little white space on the page. I really found this soul destroying. Again, I suspect that this has been done as a cost-saving, by cramming the author’s text into the least space possible. This really doesn’t work. As many editors and layout bods know, that white space around the page is important. In fact, it’s a vital part of the book.

Sorry, but I’m only going to run to a single anchor on this book, and yes, I feel guilty and mean in doing so. There is good information here, but the layout of the book makes it difficult (or it was for me) to extract. This really is a shame as it’s just as easy to put together a good book as it is a bad one. This book isn’t one of Pen and Sword’s finest creations.

Whining Civvy

Book Reviewer
I get where you're coming from, I reviewed an Osprey book in digital form, some of the illustrations were split across two (digital) pages and it really affected my enjoyment of the book. Presentation matters a great deal more that publishers seem to think.

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